Caring for a chronically ill child can be one of the toughest things a parent can do. From doctor appointments to rising travel costs it can be a lot. McMaster Children’s Hospital has teamed up with Niagara Children’s Centre to help alleviate one less obstacle parents and patients have to face.
4-year-old Julissa Hernandez-Waite has been fighting all her life. She was born with a condition where her liver, spleen, small bowel and stomach were outside of her abdomen, covered only by skin. weighing only 2 pounds, Julissa had underdeveloped lungs and tubes to help her breathe and eat. It meant monthly trips for the St. Catharine’s family to Hamilton’s McMaster Children’s Hospital. Julissa’s mom, Lourdes says,”Cabbing it would be $95 one way so it $190 for a round trip.”
Dr. Madan Roy of McMaster Children’s Hospital says,”They have to change two buses sometimes, pay of course the costs and then walk a short distance and then once they get to McMaster they are again waiting and walking.” McMaster Children’s Hospital is bringing the doctors to the patients. They opened a monthly clinic back in November at Niagara’s Children Cenrtre, so families don’t have to make the journey to Hamilton from the Niagara area. “Most of these centres are usually in a hospital setting, which is completely different from being in a Children’s Care Centre where you have the Occupational Therapist, the Physiotherapist, you have a social worker, you have a school teacher.”
The Niagara Children’s centre sees about 3400 children with physical, developmental and language delays. Many of them are also patients at McMaster. Officials hope the clinic will put children at ease.
Julissa currently wears a band around her stomach to help push her organs in. She’s at the centre daily learning how to talk and eat. She and her family no longer need to make the expensive and long trips to Hamilton leaving plenty of time to spend together. “She is in school, she is doing a lot of things we thought she wasn’t able to do. We didn’t think she was going to walk and we didn’t think she was going to talk, but here she is,” says Lourdes.